Chinese soldiers are using virtual reality to prepare for battle in built-up areas, according to a recent video on social media.
Beijing appears to have calculated that even limited coercive annexation is likely to intensify if Taiwan continues to hold out while being armed by the United States.
So the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is preparing for street battles in Taipei in a classic urban warfare scenario like it would conduct military operations – if it comes down to that.
Such a scenario would be ugly, devastating and fraught with heavy casualties on both sides, triggering its own set of national and international repercussions, in addition to the economic impact on the entire region.
What does the video show
The short 30-second clip showed about six soldiers wearing electronic equipment strapped to their torsos, backs, arms, and virtual reality goggles strapped around their eyes. There are simple walls divided into rooms in the closed training center.
The soldiers continue to move and fire their mock weapons, appearing to face another team and a room-to-room clearing operation. The video cuts the computer perspective twice, showing the team from an elevated position, assigning names and codes to each “player”, with the characters appearing in an animated format.
The soldiers belong to a marine unit of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). The soldier’s point of view is not represented, so it is difficult to see the precise scenario in which the VR simulation training takes place, i.e. whether it is an anti-terrorist operation, a hostage rescue or an urban war in a city.
This could protect the operational integrity of the PLA’s war plans. PLA Marines would likely be the first boots on the ground in an amphibious operation and the first to come into contact with civil-military resistance.
Part of the Taiwan operation drills?
But the series of Chinese military exercises around Taiwan immediately after US President Nancy Pelosi’s visit and the drills that followed were noted as very specific. This implies that China is working to engage Taiwan’s air and ground defenses, preparing for military recourse if diplomacy fails.
Thus, the current video can also be considered part of the training for an operation in Taiwan.
China appears to be preparing for the full range of military maneuvers including encirclement, blockade, coercion, limited strikes, air campaign, ground assault/amphibious operations and political takeover/assimilation .
The measures will be implemented gradually after fully exhausting their usefulness in extracting Taiwan’s political goal – declaring itself a territory of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and abandoning political aspirations of nationhood and independence.
A military operation in Taiwan will likely be a seamless extension of the various Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) exercises and breaches that occur daily and flow smoothly without Taiwan or the United States even noticing. realize.
Computer games are not a waste of time!
Previous reports have shown that China is using virtual reality and simulation training for urban warfare. In March 2021a PLAN logistics support unit under Northern Theater Command used virtual reality to conduct a “wartime fuel support exercise”.
“The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has started using Virtual Reality (VR) technologies in training, as it allows officers and soldiers to more effectively acquire enhanced combat capability,” said one. Global Times report, state-owned.
“The availability of training sites, weather conditions or equipment consumption do not restrict the VR training platform. This means we can improve training efficiency and shorten the period during which combat ability is generated,” PLA Daily quoted another official as saying.
One April 2022 report published in the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) on PLA Perspectives on Urban Warfare said it was working with private companies to “enhance the realism and impact of the training environments of the ‘PLA’.
“The PLA National University of Defense Technology also sought to acquire an urban warfare visual simulation system starting in fall 2021, but details were limited,” the report said.
President Xi Jinping dreamed of urging Chinese military personnel to undergo training in “realistic combat scenariosespecially after Ladakh’s border standoff with India in May 2020.
A section of military experts has long pointed out how advances in graphic design and software technology can allow real combat situations to be an extension of simulation training.
“Combat pilots trained on simulators, especially new aircraft, have been common for decades. For infantry training, it should not be dismissed as it helps to hone the series of mental reflexes needed for rapid fire and decision making, if not the physical element,” an infantry officer said. retired Indian Army colonel who was involved in a private company that develops training simulators for security agencies.